Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of 15

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Writing Contests for Secondary Students

"Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of 15."

Willa Cather

Before entering any writing or poetry contest, please check out these warnings  from SFWA,

the professional science fiction and fantasy writers' organization.




Ann Arlys Bowler Poetry Contest

  • Grades 6-12

  • Deadline: Jan. 31, 2007

  • Sponsored by Weekly Reader

  • Publication in Reed magazine

  • $100 and a medal

ARTSAwards sponsored by National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts

  • Seniors only

  • Fee required

  • Registration deadline: Oct. 2, 2006

  • Portfolio deadline: November 1, 2006

Ayn Rand Institute

  • Essay contest based on works by Ayn Rand

  • 9th-10th grade: Anthem

  • 11th-12 grade: The Fountainhead

  • EntryDeadline: March 20, 2007

  • Topics and rules on website

  • FIRST PRIZE: $2,000
    5 SECOND PRIZES: $500
    10 THIRD PRIZES: $200
    45 FINALISTS: $50 Cash Awards
    175 SEMIFINALISTS: $30 Cash Awards

Creative Communications

Essay Writing Contest

  • Essay contest for students in grades 4-12 in the United States and Canada

  • Topic: Student choice

  • Ongoing contest with deadlines twice a school year

  • Site has winning essay examples, teacher resources, and help for student writers

  • Top Ten essays in each grade division (4-6; 7-9; 10-12) will receive a $50 savings bond and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

  • Schools that have 15 or more students accepted to be published will receive a Writing Achievement Award. These schools will receive a certificate, special recognition in the anthology and qualify to apply for one of two $250 grants that we give to two schools in each state or region.

  • Teachers with 5 or more students accepted to be published will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers

Creative Communications

Poetry Writing Contest

  • Poetry contest for K-12

  • Nathan Evans, 12th grade, CRHS a Spring 2006 winner

  • Ongoing contest: Upcoming deadlines: August 15th, December 5th 2006 and April 5th, 2007

  • FAQ

  • Published in anthology, $50 savings bond, and copy of anthology

  • School can be eligible for $250 grant

Fire Escape Writing Contest for Teens Between Cultures

  • 13-19

  • For immigrant writers or writers with at least one parent from another country

  • Poetry or fiction

  • Submit between Sept. 1, 2006 and June 1, 2007

George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest sponsored by Sons of the American Revolution—local, state, and national levels

  • Sophomore, junior, or senior

  • Original, researched topic related to an event, person, philosophy, or ideal associated with American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or framing of Constitution

  • 800-1000 words + title page, bibliography, and biography of writer

  • First place: $3,000 and trip to Dallas for SAR Congress

  • Second: $2,000

  • Third: $1,000


  • Juniors and Seniors

  • Maximum 1200 words

  • First-person story about a memorable or moving experience. MUST be true

  • Deadline Nov. 22, 2006

Houston Chronicle/George Christian Book and Author essay contest (last year’s info)

  • Junior or senior

  • Teachers send top three entries

  • Choose 1 of 4 prompts

  • 1-3 double-spaced pages

  • Deadline in late September

  • $100

  • 3 Tickets to Book and Author dinner (student, parent, teacher)

  • Essay published in on Chronicle’s website

Kids Are Authors sponsored by Scholastic

  • K-8

  • Picture books written collaboratively by groups of 3 or more

  • March 15, 2007

  • Publication and distribution of book

National Peace Essay Contest sponsored by United States Institute of Peace

  • Deadline: Feb. 1st, 2007

  • Good for debaters--2005 topic dealt with nuclear proliferation

  • Teaching guide available

  • Winners at state and national levels

  • $1000-$10,000

NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing

  • High school juniors

  • Must be nominated by school

  • Deadeline Feb. 2, 2007

  • Need school coordinator/nominating teacher

NCTE Promising Young Writers

  • 8th grade

  • Must be nominated by school

  • Details available in October

  • Needs school coordinator/nominating teacher

Poetry Society of Texas

  • Lists 54 separate contests with varying topics.

  • 28 lines or fewer

  • Publication in anthology

  • Award varies

Princeton University Poetry Prize

  • 11th grade

  • March 1, 2007

  • Publication

Scholastic Art and Writing

  • District deadline early November

  • 7-12 grade

Take Me Away Writing Contest (poetry or short shory) sponsored by Weekly Reader

  • Judged by Ursula K. Le Guin

  • Deadline: Nov. 22, 2006

  • Publication in Writing and cash prize

  • Signed copy of Ursula K. Le Guin book

Teen Ink

  • Biannual Fiction Contest

  • Great venue for student publication

The Writing Conference, Inc

  • Elementary through high school

  • Deadline, Jan. 8, 2007

  • 2007 topic concerns change

  • Publication in The Writer’s Slate

What’s Your Story Student Publication Award sponsored by Weekly Reader

  • Award for student publication AND individual nonfiction writing published in student publication

  • 2006 rules and deadlines not yet posted


More Writing Contests

  • Cricket League Story Contest, Cricket League, P.O. Box 300, Peru, IL 61354, Monthly contests. Read website for complete rules. FEE: NONE. PRIZES: Publication.

  • QUARTERLY: Ongoing Essay Contest, sponsored by, c/o Sandra Humphrey, 19 Westwood Road, Minnetonka, MN 55305. "In 300 words or less, tell us your true story about the most difficult decision you've had to make between right and wrong. New winners will be picked every three months." FEE: NONE. PRIZE: $50.

  • "Shout Out" Teen Writing Contest, Next Step Publishing, Inc., 86 W. Main St., Victor, NY 14564, 1-800-771-3117. "The Next Step Magazine seeks first-person accounts written by teens for teens about subjects like peer pressure, politics, friends, world events, culture, dating or other relevant topics. Be creative, and create your own topic!" FEE: NONE. PRIZE: $100.

  • TEEN INK ESSAY CONTESTS, monthly and semi-annual. Lots of categories! Interview, Nonfiction, "What Matters Most," Poetry, Cover Photo, Art & Photography, Fiction, Travel & Culture, Environment, and the chance to win $100 for your favorite charity with "Community Service Awards." Great opportunity for student artists, photographers, and writers.

  • ESSAY CONTEST FOR KIDS, sponsored by author Linda Joy Singleton, P.O Box 1357, Galt. CA 95632. For details and entry form, visit FEE: NONE. PRIZES: 1st=$100, 2nd=$50, and five honorable mentions will receive an autographed book.

  • "Assignment for Kids" sponsored by A monthly writing contest for kids ages 13 and under. Be brief! Only 75 words allowed.

  • Kids' Mystery Contest, ongoing contest sponsored by Candlelight Press, details at

  • Consumers Union Report on Contests: Fifteen pages of student contests. Visit

  • Student Poetry Contest: The American Library of Poetry, P.O. Box 978, Houlton, ME 04730, (506) 328-4964, . "The Student Poetry Contest is for school age children enrolled in grades 4-12, including tutored and home schooled children. Entrants judged in four divisions: grades 4-5, grades 6-7, grades 8-9, and grades 10-12. FEE: NONE. PRIZES: U.S. Savings Bond and Certificate of Achievement. (Please see website,, for complete details and samples of previous winners.)

  • sponsored by Meadowbrook Press, 5451 Smetana Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343. This site offers fun activities, humorous examples, and lots of teaching ideas--great for kids, homeschool parents, and teachers. Fun to explore!

  • ANNUAL - JANUARY: John F. Kennedy "Profiles in Courage" Essay Contest, begins September each year, deadline in early January. Open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; U.S. students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. territories; and U.S. citizens attending schools overseas. For complete details visit

  • ANNUAL - FEBRUARY: IMPAC-Connecticut State University Young Writers Program, Connecticut State University System, 39 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT 06105-2337. Deadline: February every year. A statewide competition for students ages 13-18 during the school year. Win $1,000 for a poem, essay or work of fiction. For complete details visit

  • ANNUAL - MARCH: "What the Gettysburg Address Means to Me" Essay Contest, Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 3372, Gettysburg, PA 17325,, click on "Essay Contest." All entrants must be 7th and 8th grade students. FEE: NONE. PRIZE: $100 plus trip to Gettysburg, PA. PLEASE NOTE: IF THE SITE IS DOWN, THAT'S NOT UNUSUAL. CHECK BACK LATER. THANKS!

  • ANNUAL - APRIL: Holocaust Remembrance Essay Contest, information available in September, deadline mid-April every year. A national essay contest for high school students designed to encourage and promote the study of the Holocaust. For complete details visit

  • ANNUAL - NOVEMBER: Guideposts Young Writers Contest. For all junior and senior high school students. Entrants must write a first-person story about a memorable or moving experience they have had. Stories must be the true personal experience of the writer (up to 1,200 words). For complete rules visit

  • ANNUAL - DECEMBER: Columbia College Chicago Young Authors Fiction. For all 9th-12th grade students. Two categories: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction (2,500 words max.). For complete details visit

Venues for Student Publication

  • The Apprentice Writer (annual deadline: March 1st, for publication in September)
    Gary Fincke
    Writers' Institute Director
    Susquehanna University
    Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1001
    Publishes the written work and photography/graphics by U.S. high school students (grades 9-12)

  • chixLIT
    Maria D. Laso, Editor
    PO Box 12051
    Orange CA 92859
    A literary 'zine by and for girls (ages 7-17).

  • Creative Kids
    Submissions Editor
    P.O. Box 8813
    Waco, TX 76714-8813
    The nation's largest magazine by and for kids ages 8-14. Material may include cartoons, songs, stories between 800 and 900 words, puzzles, photographs, artwork, games, activities, editorials, poetry, and plays.

  • Crunch Online
    Sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics
    1990 K Street NW
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 502-7300
    Main home page for CRUNCH, submissions guidelines at
    To provide a forum for kids to share ideas and get published. Online submissions only.

  • CyberKids
    Able Minds, Inc.
    1750-1 30th St. #170
    Boulder, CO 80301-1024
    (303) 413-0914
    Art and written submissions for audience ages 7-12

    (Online submissions only)
    Stories and poems.

    Brumlow Design Ventures
    Texas City, TX
    (281) 221-4694
    Articles, stories, recipes, crafts, and artwork by kids, for kids.

  • MidLink Magazine, The Digital Magazine by Students, for Students Ages 8 - 18
    Caroline McCullen, Editor-in-Chief
    Instructional Technologist, SAS inSchool
    SAS Campus Drive
    Cary, NC 27513
    (919) 531-2869
    "Highlighting exemplary student work from the most creative classrooms from around the globe."
    (NOTE: Remember, home education is also considered a "classroom." Also, be aware this site requires Internet access
    and possibly a web site to display your student's work. See website for project ideas.)

  • New Moon For Girls
    34 E. Superior St. #200
    Duluth MN 55802
    (800) 381-4743
    Edited by and for girls ages 8-14.

  • Novel Knowledge
    Tired of book reports? Why not post yours as a book review? Check out this site. Novel types include realistic, mystery, fantasy and science fiction, action, historical, sports, biography and non-fiction.
    Site Editor: Delia DeCourcy
    For readers 5th grade and up.

  • Piccadilly Press
    5 Castle Road
    London NW1 8PR
    Tel +44 (0) 20 7267 4492
    Picture books and teen novels.

  • Potluck Children's Literary Magazine
    P.O. Box 546
    924 Holmes Ave.
    Deerfield, IL 60015-0546
    (847) 948-1139
    Publishes poetry, short stories, fables, book reviews, and artwork by young writers and artists ages 8-16 (even some as young as 4!).

  • Scriptorium Scribbles
    Sherry D. Ramsey, Publisher/Editor
    Sydney Mines
    Nova Scotia, B1V 2X1 Canada, submission guidelines at
    "The young writers' resource webzine."

  • Seven Hills Review, A Teen Zine
    Teen Coordinator
    Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
    800 Vine St
    Cincinnati, OH 45202-2009,
    Submission Guidelines at
    Teens grades 7 through 12 are invited to submit creative writing, artwork and photographs. Seven Hills Review is published in the fall, winter and spring.

  • Skipping Stones
    P.O. Box 3939
    Eugene, OR 97403
    (541) 342-4956
    For children ages 7-18.

  • Speak Up Press
    (online submissions only)
    For young adults ages 13-19, publishing non-fiction, poetry, plays, photography, and artwork.

  • Stone Soup
    P.O. Box 83
    Santa Cruz, CA 95063
    (800) 447-4569
    Welcomes stories, poems, book reviews, and art by young people through age 13.

  • Student Bylines
    P.O. Box 1031
    Veradale WA 99037-1031
    "Where students get published--and paid!" Written by teens interested in art, photography, or writing of any kind (currently prints one issue annually).

  • Teen Ink
    PO Box 30
    Newton, MA 02461
    (617) 964-6800
    Accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art by teens 13 to 19 years old.

  • White Barn Press
    (online submissions only)
    Editor/Owner: Suzanne Meyer
    Check out this site for writing prompts and ideas, and to read others' work.

  • Word Dance
    A quarterly non-profit creative writing and art publication that is 100% for and by kids (K-8th grade).

  • Writer's Window
    Content Editor: Anne Girven,
    A site for young writers (ages 5 to 18) to publish their original work, or contribute to a "continuous story" online.

  • Young Writers' Clubhouse
    Sponsored by author Deborah Morris
    Real Kids Real Adventures
    PO Box 461572
    Garland TX 75046-1572
    Announces regular essay contests.

  • ZuZu
    Restless Youth Press
    271 East 10th St. #64
    New York City, NY 10009
    For young artists, photographers and writers. "Help! Right now, we need photos and drawings by kids!"

  • The InnermoonLit Award for Young Fiction Writers, sponsored by Brian Agincourt Massey, details at This site sponsors occasional contests for students. "Open to writers 17 years old and younger." In previous contests, entry was FREE (no fees) and authors retain rights to their work.

  • Cicada Magazine, for readers ages 14-21. Not limited to teen writers but encourages teen submissions; pays up to 25 cents/word.

Other Publication Venues

  • Amazing Kids

  • Children’s Express (news articles)

  • Claremont Review - (ages 13-19) no science fiction or fantasy

  • Crunch  an on-line zine to share ideas and opinions

  • Cyberkids  an online zine for kids 7-12    Submission guidelines

  • Frodo's Notebook on-line zine for teens 13-19

  • Kahani

  • Kid Authors  online zine for ages 6-18

  • Kid Pub

  • Kid World

  • KidLit  an on-line zine for kids

  • Kids Online Magazine

  • Kids Think Link

  • Midlink Magazine

  • New Moon  edited by and for girls ages 8-14

  • Potluck Children's Literary Magaine  for ages 8-16

  • PUSH

  • Resources for Young Writers; a huge site maintained by science fiction writer David Barr Kirtley with contest, resource, and publication links

  • Scriptorium Scribbles

  • Shorelines Magazine  published twice a year by Shawnigan Lake School (BC, Canada) for writers 12-20

  • Skipping Stones - a multicultural magazines  accepts non-fiction submission from ages 8-16

  • Speak Up annual print literary journal for ages 13-19; not accepting submissions in 2005

  • Spring Tides  published by The Savannah Country Day School. Accepts submissions from ages 5-12

  • Springfield Library’s Teen Site

  • StoneSoup  print magazine and on-line archive for writers and artists through age 13

  • Talented Kids

  • Teen Writers and Dreams

  • The Louisville Review  accepts poetry from grades K-12

  • The Slam  on-line publishing associated with Cicada magazine

  • The Squid on-line zine accepting fiction from writers 12-18

  • The Third Pole

  • The Writers' Slate

  • The Young Writers Club  currently not accepting new submissions

  • Voices at READ magazine

  • World Dance

  • Young People's Press

  • Young Voices  accepts work from students in elementary through high school

  • Young Writer: The Magazine For Children With Something To Say

  • Young Writers at

  • Young Writers Clubhouse

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